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Snake bites on rise along El Paso hiking trails in monsoon season

EL PASO, Texas-- Monsoon season isn’t just a busy season for our ABC-7 StormTrackers— it’s also a busy season for snake sightings in our area.

According to emergency medical authorities in the U.S., snake bites are on the increase across the country as more people head out to local trails during the Covid-19 pandemic.

There’s an increase in people wanting to spend their free time hiking out in trails during this pandemic and the best time to do that is early in the morning when the temperatures are cool. According to Amanda Stansbury, the El Paso Zoo's area supervisor for the South American collection, that is the time that snakes are most often out on hiking trails.

“So you’re gonna see snake activity this time of year and especially cause there’s more people out and about around the time when snakes are gonna be using those areas,” said Stansbury.

According to Dr. Salvador Baeza, director at West Texas Poison Center, nine snake bikes have been reported so far this year within El Paso County.

"Last year we had eleven for the entire year so we are seeing more than what we would normally expect,” said Dr. Baeza.

Most snake bite reports occur in the Southwest, Texas and the Southeast U.S. because of our warm temperatures.

"Whenever it gets warm we tend to see more activity with snakes, they’re especially more active around dusk and dawn,” explained Stansbury.

Poisonous snakes in the U.S. include rattlesnakes, copperheads, water moccasins and coral snakes.

“You can tell if a snake is venomous here in El Paso because we have pit viper species here. That means that their head will be triangular shape instead of round, that’s one identifier. Also they’ll have slit like pupils kinda like cats eye as apposed to having round pupils," said Stansbury.

Officials recommend to avoid moving rocks or digging in the dirt because most snakes will crawl under small spaces to stay cool while temperatures get hotter outside.

If you come into contact with a snake, officials recommend to stay as calm as possible. Remove any jewelry, socks or accessories to prevent any swelling from occurring.

"You just wanna keep your heart rate down and clean up the wound if you can and go seek medical care,” said Stansbury.

If you are able to, Dr. Baeza also recommends to take a photo of the snake, safely, before you head to seek medical care so doctors can know if the snake was venomous or not.

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Iris Lopez

Iris Lopez is a weathercaster and reporter for ABC-7.


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